It’s critical that you’re able to see behind and beside you while driving. This is accomplished by using the rearview mirror, or one of the two side view mirrors on your car. But what happens if a mirror is missing or damaged? Is it legal to drive with a missing or damaged mirror?

What the law says

First, understand that the laws in each state vary. However, most of them do require you to have at least two mirrors that provide a view behind you. This means you can legally drive your car as long as two of the three mirrors are still functional and whole. However, while it might be legal, it’s not particularly safe. This is especially true for the side view mirrors. It’s very difficult to get a good view of traffic on the passenger side of your car from the driver’s seat without a side view mirror.

You should also understand that while it’s not technically illegal to drive your car in this condition, a police officer might pull you over if he or she notices that it’s missing or damaged.

The best option

The best option is to have your mirror replaced if it’s broken or damaged. If just the mirror is damaged, it can be replaced relatively easily. If the actual mirror housing is broken on one of your side view mirrors, replacing it will take a little bit extra time (you’ll need a new housing and new glass).

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Can I Drive with Damaged or Missing Mirrors? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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